October 26, 2017 – After recording its highest finish in the Conference Carolinas Championships in more than a decade last year, fifth place, the Barton College men’s cross country team matched that result for the second straight season on Friday at Frank J. Liske Park.
Senior Joel Lagat led the effort for the Bulldogs, claiming seventh place in field of 63 runners with an 8K time of 26:29 to earn All-Conference Second Team honors.
In doing so, the Eldoret, Kenya, resident collected all-conference recognition for the third straight year, becoming just the second Barton runner in the NCAA Division II era to do so. Josh Godfrey was a four-time honoree for BC between 1999 and 2002.
Freshmen Greg Gibbs and Alex Kelly finished back-to-back for Barton in 36th and 37th place, with Gibbs crossing the line in a mark of 29:10.1 and Kelly following one-tenth of a second later. The third member of Barton’s freshman trio, Evan Lee, placed 48th with a time of 30:16.2. Sophomore Leslie Jones rounded out the BC lineup, finishing 60th with a mark of 31:52.8.
Barton collected 154 points in claiming fifth place. The Bulldogs trailed King University, which was fourth with 111 points, and narrowly edged sixth-place Belmont Abbey College, which gained 158 points.
The top-ranked team in the Southeast Region and the No. 6 team nationally, University of Mount Olive, rolled to its sixth straight team title after taking the top six spots in the meet. The Trojans posted the best score possible, 15 points, to easily defeat second-place Lees-McRae College, which had 71.
Jonathan Dahlke led the UMO pack across the line, gaining first place in a time of 26:14.5.
The season will continue for Barton on Saturday, Nov. 4, when it competes in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional at Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. Two years ago on the same course, Lagat finished eighth out of 160 runners in the 2015 Southeast Regional and earned a trip to nationals.
By Benton Benny